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Saturday, May 23, 2015

Stores Allure! | Abercrombie & Fitch The Grove, Los Angeles: The Final Days...

A captured area of implemented signature artwork by Bruce Sargeant within A&F The Grove...
Image, M.P. for The Sitch on Fitch, shot before the store's closure.
         A ONE-OF-A-KIND WONDER onto its own, Abercrombie & Fitch at The Grove in Los Angeles, California, was an outstanding entity of the ultimate finest of the A&F Experience! Originally opened in The Grove in 2002, it was remodeled and reinaugurated, on July 15, 2006, as the West Coast Abercrombie & Fitch Fitch flagship store following the grand November 2005 premier of the first A&F Flagship, A&F Fifth Avenue, in New York City. Of having possessed a great personal history and relationship within the Company and the greater world, A&F The Grove was an icon. Now, time after its February 21 closure this year, The Sitch on Fitch, in collaboration with a former store model and new TSOF Contributor, offers newfound exclusive insight into the its final days...

Although in showcase within prime commercial real estate on one of Los Angeles most renowned shopping and entertainment spots, Abercrombie & Fitch at The Grove - despite the superior signature A&F setup, and considerable traffic generated and drop-bys by countless celebrities - operated with satisfactory performance through the years until beginning to dwindle by the turn of the new decade. On a rough estimate, sales dropping within a range of US$5000-20k periodically as time went on. If anything, The Grove, apart from hard giving up such a very particular prime location due to the attention it generated and the good-use of it by the Company regardless, was sustained in operation furthermore due to the actual fact the it was a personal favorite of Mike's (Michael S. Jeffries, founder of the modern Abercrombie & Fitch as fashion retailer and former Chairman and CEO); "The associates at The Grove were possibly the best I have ever met including managera. Every single manager and associate was picked and groomed for Mike's pleasure: most associates had been with that store for 5+ years." When Mike left, senior executives at the Company made their move (and it now makes furthermore sense with the timing): once they set everything in motion, a letter was only then sent informing that the location was to close on February 21.

With the associates all getting ear of it, everyone was shocked. Subsequently, around half of staff quit after moving to secure different jobs. Morale dropped, with a depressed cloud over it all, but associates carried on with work left to do and made some last small hires needed after others quit. Furthermore, and what had always been a challenge at A&F The Grove, severe shoplifting had to be still dealt with: by the last to weeks of operation, the store had in place undercover LAPD officers: "Actually no one really knew [...but...] a group of boosters came in one day and threatened to kill every manager and associate that [walked] out the stores door at night. If we didn't let them take the 200+ bottles of cologne. Soon after, two, three were detained. One was detained by the lead management, and she socked him giving him a open wound. The store for its final two months became a military operation." The store was kept up to sell-off merchandise right up until the final day. Naturally, there were no designated discounts just because that particular location was closing: leftover stock was shipped out. By the end of it all, the majority of remaining associates were moved to three nearby top-tier locations and the parting from A&F The Grove was a deep, understandably emotional affair for the devoted associate: "Coming the final week of, fighting off boosters and somehow keeping sales decent, it was battle that we knew we would all lose. On my final day, I left broken but understood that it was needed but not necessary to keep the brand floating. Majority of associates drifted to three stores: Glendale, City walk, and Santa Monica. Every associate and manager were amazing and were the necessary pieces to the brand. Currently, all three stores are on positive sales and currently one of the most successful stores across the country."

Mike, who had retired from Abercrombie & Fitch Co. by the December 9, 2014, announcement of him having left, actually made a final stop by in mid-January to have a final look around his once-glorious place before it closed: "One of the most amazing things about The Grove was its sound system: since Mike visited The Grove and treated it like home, he preferred top-of-the-line audio system and supposedly when [he'd] visit, [from what I was told], he would watch from above to watch his movie [the A&F Experience all playing out] at The Grove. Once the music's on, there's no way of ignoring the beat running though the floors and walls."

Exclusive captured snapshots from before the closing This, recording places of the grand signature implimented artwork of Bruce Sargeant within the flagship and also panoramic interior views...










For a brief surmise of history and details - and including pics of the last season in operation, Christmas/Winter 2014/15 feat. exterior shots of the great building - of A&F The Grove, see our closing announcement post (here). A great thank you to our Contributor, M.P.!

"But the grove was a epic theater for A&F..."

A&F The Grove (CA-ANF; #10951), we'll love you forever...

Stay FIERCE

This post was written by C.E.R. and incorporating contributed details by TSOF Contributor, M.P. Images in this post, M..P. for The Sitch on Fitch, and they may not be used/altered without permission by the author.